• You're all caught up!

Healthy Substitute for Butter in Cakes

author image Caryn Anderson
Caryn Anderson combines extensive behind-the-scenes writing experience with her passion for all things food, fashion, garden and travel. Bitten by the travel bug at the age of 15 after a trip to Europe, Anderson fostered her love of style and fashion while living in New York City and earning her degree at New York University.
Healthy Substitute for Butter in Cakes
A glass bowl with cooking oil. Photo Credit anna1311/iStock/Getty Images

You can still bake a light, flavorful cake while reducing the fat and calories from your recipe. Butter, which is high is fat and calories, works together with leaveners such as baking powder, to give cake a delicate, light consistency while also giving it a rich, delicious flavor and a tender crumb. If you're getting rid of the fat from your cake recipe, you should also use half the number of eggs that your recipe calls for and reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

Swapping Butter for Fruit Puree

Add sweetness and fiber while slashing calories and maintaining a moist, tender texture by using fruit purees as butter replacements. Pureed peaches, apples, pears or pumpkin work well in flavorful spice cakes, while prune puree can be used for darker-colored cakes and brownies. Although the fruit does a great job of lending a fat-like consistency to your cake, it also adds more sweetness than butter would. This requires the amount of sugar to be reduced slightly. When you're measuring fruit puree, use roughly 1/2 cup of puree to replace 1 cup of butter.

Switching to Cooking Oil

At first glance, swapping butter for oil might not sound like the healthiest choice. If you choose oils with heart-healthy fats, such as olive oil, canola oil or coconut oil, you're also usually slashing the saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium in your cake. The downside of swapping butter for oil is the greasy texture that it gives cakes and other baked goods if you use too much. Instead, use roughly 3/4 to 7/8 cup oil to replace every 1 cup of butter. Another important consideration when you’re choosing an oil to use is to consider the flavor of the oil and the flavor of your cake. While extra virgin olive oil may pair deliciously with a Sicilian lemon cake, it may not work as well for a plain vanilla cake.

Slashing Calories with Mashed Avocado or Banana

Although it might give light-colored cakes a slightly greenish hue, mashed avocado makes an effective butter substitution since it is rich in fat and flavor. According to information on the Hass Avocado Board's website, you can substitute mashed avocado for butter using a one-to-one ratio. In addition to being a source of heart-healthy fats, vitamins, phytonutrients and minerals, the moisture content in the flesh of the avocado helps keep your cake from becoming too crumbly. Mashed bananas can also be used to replace an equal measure of butter, although it adds a stronger flavor.

Using Less Butter with Partial Substitutes

Certain healthy butter substitutes are more likely to affect the flavor or texture of your cake if you use them to replace all of the butter in your recipe. For example, although fat-free Greek yogurt can be used to substitute all of the butter in your cake recipe using a one-to-one ratio, it increases the moisture in the cake batter, requiring that you reduce some of the other liquids. To avoid affecting the texture and lightness of your cake, it's typically recommended that you only replace half the butter. Similarly, replacing all of the butter with applesauce will affect the density of your bread, making it heavier and moister. This makes it better suited for replacing half the butter, which still reduces fat and calories in the cake.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.



Demand Media